In just the few hours since I posted, the fires have got worse. They’re evacuating some of the hill suburbs, and the smoke is coming from a huge swath across the hills now – I was just at a function on the 6th floor of another campus building, which has an unimpeded view across the city to the hills (pity I didn’t think to take my camera up there), and everyone spent the whole time either standing at the windows just watching the massive clouds of smoke get bigger and bigger, or on their phones trying to get hold of friends and family in the area. You could see how fast the fire is moving (we couldn’t see the actual flames, which were on the other side of the ridges, but you could tell where the front was from the smoke), and I can’t imagine how the fire service are going to get it under control. I feel so sorry for everyone in those suburbs who’ll be spending a very long night waiting to see if their houses have been saved (made even worse by the fact that many of them have only just rebuilt after the earthquakes, and some will still be dealing with their insurance companies).
Ok nature, you’ve thrown enough at Christchurch now. How about giving us a break?